Twice as Nice–or Double Trouble? Early Childhood Books on Twins!

~posted by Ruth

I remember so well the phone call with the exciting news:

“Mom. (pause) I’m pregnant.  We heard the baby’s heart beat.”

Then Chuck’s voice chimed in on the other line, “And then we heard the other baby’s heart beat.”

My baby was having babies?  Excitement gave way to images in my head:  me in a rocking chair with two babies–and a book.  Reading bedtime stories together, the three of us writing together, making our own little books. . .  I also wondered how that exciting phone call would change all our lives.  What’s it like to raise twins?

In the almost five years since their birth, I’ve learned the overwhelming joys of 2 little ones the same age.  True, at times it can feel like double the trouble –but mostly it’s such a wonder to see both the similarities and the clear differences in each amazing little person.  As young children become increasingly aware of their “twin-ness,” it’s nice to be able to recommend books written for them to celebrate being a twin–and the special bonds they share as well as the individuality of each.  Below are some selected books about twins–written for the early childhood set.

About Twins by Shelley Rother and Sheila Kelly

Real quotes from real little twins is one of the big selling points for this lovely twin book.  The photographs are spectacular, and show twins in all stages of childhood–sometimes playing, sharing and delighting in each other, and others wrestling, squabbling (you get the picture:  it represents real life!)  It’s also a great discussion starter for pre-schools and kindergartens.

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A Busy Year by Leo Lionni

Leo Lionni’s little mice–twins this time–befriend a tree named Woody and learn the annual cycle of growth and decline.  With Lionni’s clear bright images, readers can focus on the tree and its changes over the year.  As a twin-book, the text shows how these siblings work and play together over 12 months–celebrating the new buds in spring, delighting in the crisp apples in late summer, and mourning the loss of leaves in fall.  Also available in a board book edition.

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T is for Twins:  An ABC Book by Mary Bond

Another photographic celebration of twinship, this picture book is also a rhyming alphabet book.  I love the cultural range of the families represented, and a wonderful personalizing feature:  Included is a clear acrylic pocket where parents can insert a picture of their twins to make the book  special for the whole family.

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Hello Twins by Charlotte Voake

Hello Charlotte and Simon!  This brother and sister set of twins couldn’t be more different:  they like to do different things, and they even look very different from one another.  And even when they like doing the same activity together, they approach it very differently.  Quite a bit like Molly and Jacob!  And just like Molly and Jacob, they like each other just the way they are.  An ode to the special closeness of twins as well as the uniqueness of  their relationship.

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Twin to Twin by Margaret O’Hair

These loveable busy baby twins–a boy and a girl–progress from infancy to toddlerhood together.  With whimsical cartoony drawings, and lilting rhymes, we readers get to view the journey.   Simple text, but fun to recite and read, and kids I’ve shared it with–twins or not–enjoy it:

“Double born./Twice the blessing./Double kids./Twice the messing.”

I think it would be a good gift for baby shower for parents expecting twins.  Fun to read before the twins are born–and great to share with them later, too.

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